Mining UK British Mining - Northern Mines Research Society New books British Mining No 95 - Thomas Sopwith Jnr, La Tortilla and his other mining ventures at Linares, Spain

British Mining No 95 - Thomas Sopwith Jnr, La Tortilla and his other mining ventures at Linares, Spain

British Mining No 95  -  Thomas Sopwith Jnr, La Tortilla and his other mining ventures at Linares, Spain
SKU SKU14359
Weight 0.18 kg


Rob Vernon, SB, A5, 88

Thomas Sopwith senior is famous for his overseeing of the W.B. lead mines in the North Pennines. His son Tom followed very much in his father's footsteps but at a time when the UK mines were about to decline.

Tom became the manager of the Spanish Lead Co., a UK company formed in 1864 to work the La Tortilla Mine to the north west of Linares, Spain. The company was later refinanced as T. Sopwith and Company Ltd. The area was exploited by a series of UK companies and generated consistent profits even at times when lead prices were low.

This volume traces Tom's professional career from his visits to other European mines to his tragic and untimely death in 1898. It has a detailed history of the lead mines at La Tortilla together with their associated workings is richly illustrated with many photographs and drawings from the archives at Linares, including several of the smelting works.

Contents, Page

List of illustrations 4
Acknowledgements 5
Introduction 6
Thomas Sopwith Jnr. 8
The early years 8
Europe and eventually Linares 9
La Tortilla 11
Geography / Topography 11
Geology 13
Mine Workings 13
The Spanish Lead Company Limited 20
A visit to La Tortilla 21
Visits to Pozo Ancho and another mine 23
The first year of working and the starting of an engine 24
The workings, costings and the smelting of the ore 27
A successful year 29
The end of the 1860s 31
The dressing floors 35
A new decade – the 1870s 36
The smelting works 41
The Gitana Mine 43
End of an era 44
T. Sopwith and Company Limited 47
Reginald Bonham-Carter 49
La Tortilla at the end of the 19th century 50
A tragedy and a new career 52
The Posadas Mine, Cordoba 53
A new century 55
The last year of mining 58
A new beginning 61
The present day 63
Appendix 1 - The Family of Thomas Sopwith Jnr. 67
Appendix 2 - A winding system for small mines devised by Messrs. Ransomes,
Sims & Head and Thomas Sopwith jnr. 68
Appendix 3 - Photographs from the Colectivo Proyecto Arrayanes collection,
Linares and from the author’s collection - with interpretation by Richard Smith 69
References 80
Index 85
List of illustrations
Figure Page
1. Map of mining remains in the Linares area 7
2. Portrait of Thomas Sopwith jnr. 9
3. Location map of Sopwith mining interests and concessions 10
4. Detailed map of La Tortilla mine concessions 12
5. Map of shafts on the La Tortilla North and South Veins 14
6. Section of the North Vein workings 16
7. Section of the South Vein workings 18
8. Portrait of Thomas Sopwith snr. 20
9. Portrait of Warington Wilkinson Smyth 21
10. Sketch of the area around Camel Shaft by Thomas Sopwith snr. 22
11. Sketch of Tom’s house in Linares by Thomas Sopwith snr. 23
12. Sketch of the vein at Las Angustias Mine 24
13. Portrait of Arthur Sopwith 26
14. The upper dressing floors and Palmerston Shaft 30
15. The engine house at Barings’ Shaft in 1978 32
16. Plan of the upper dressing floors at La Tortilla 34
17. Plan of the lower dressing floors at La Tortilla 36
18. The San Federico engine house 38
19. The Santa Annie engine house 40
20. Plan of the lead works in 1900 42
21. Lead sheet production at La Tortilla 43
22. The small winding house in 1903 46
23. The lead works yard at La Tortilla 48
24. Photograph of Reginald Bonham-Carter 49
25. The boiler house and chimney for the Worthington engine 51
26. El Fin Mine around the end of the 19th century 58
27. La Tortilla Mine in 1903 59
28. Operation of a hotching tub in 1903 60
29. Remains of the Calamon Mining Co. mill near Posadas 62
30. Early 20th century photograph of La Tortilla 63
31. The southern engine houses looking north 64
32. The shot tower and sidings in 1907 65
33. The masonry headgear at Rivero Shaft, La Gitana Mine 65
34. The southern engine houses looking south 66
35. La Gitana, the remains of the San Isidro pumping engine house 66
36. Engraving of the Ransomes, Sims & Head portable engine 68
37. Photograph of two men working an ore hearth 69
38. Photograph of eight ore hearths at La Tortilla 70
39. Two blast roasting pots at La Tortilla 71
40. The upper deck of the roasting pot shed at La Tortilla 72
41. Roasting pot tipping calcined charge at La Tortilla 73
42. The blast furnace shed and works at La Tortilla 74
43. Tapping area of the La Tortilla blast furnace 75
44. Slag handling area of the La Tortilla blast furnace 76
45. Reverberatory furnace used for softening lead 77
46. Electricity generator building at La Tortilla 78
47. Interior of the building showing generator and steam engine 78
48. Semi-portable steam engine by R. Wolf Magdeburg-Buckau 78
49. Small vertical engine with vertical boiler behind 78
50. Lead pipe coiling at La Tortilla 79
51. General view of lead pipe extrusion process 79
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  • Author: Spartylea
    Oops was looking for a review and managed to give this a 1 star rating by accident, never even read it, my apologies to the author!!

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